ALDLAND Archives: Is the Worldwide Leader not long for this world? Imagining the end of ESPN

ESPN is in the midst of a significant layoff of on-air talent this week, and most of the casualties’ names are coming to light today. The cuts are leading many to ask some fundamental questions about the network’s future. Below, from the past, a potential answer to one such question.



Is the Worldwide Leader not long for this world? Imagining the end of ESPN

December 7, 2015

My latest post at TechGraphs asks a simple question: why does ESPN still exist?

The full post is available here.

The Sports Illustrated cover curse has relocated to page 34

rachel nichols si

If it feels like the force of the Sports Illustrated cover curse has waned, that’s only because the jinx has relocated to page thirty four. There, in this week’s issue, appeared SI media critic Richard Deitsch’s article, “The Case for…Rachel Nichols,” in which Deitsch praised Nichols’ recent “interrogat[ions]” of Roger Goodell and Floyd Mayweather Jr. “on her eponymous CNN show, Unguarded with Rachel Nichols. As a result,” Deitsch proclaimed in a laudatory proclamation highlighted in the featured pull quotation, “Nichols is at the moment the country’s most impactful and prominent female sports journalist.”

That may have been true “at the moment” Deitsch wrote it, but by the time many SI readers saw it, Nichols’ show had been cancelled. That’s pretty devastating all the way around, and if you’re a fan of either Mississippi State or Ole Miss football, both of which share this week’s SI cover, you may be in for a long day today.

The OKTC-Fox Sports merger is complete

I’ve been keeping an eye on Clay Travis’ SEC-football-oriented site, Outkick the Coverage, since its inception, more recently tracking changes associated with the site’s acquisition by Fox Sports. As detailed in the comments here, certain small changes indicating the Fox connection had been appearing on OKTC as early as last July, and today, that transformation appears to be complete, as evidenced by the site’s facade redesign.

oktcnewEven the base URL and browser tab icon have become those of

oktctabPerhaps most importantly, OKTC now has a permanent link on’s college football portal page, favorably situated right under the College Football header.

fscomThis can only portent well for Travis, who has continued to expand his television role with Fox Sports 1, even parlaying that into a Super Bowl assignment. Travis has been public about his expiring contract with what has been his main employer, WGFX, 104.5 FM in Nashville. While Clay seems unlikely to leave Music City and the SEC football beat entirely, he definitely is expanding his reach and the scope of his coverage. The only thing that seems unlikely for Travis in the near future, given his deepening ties with Fox and a possibly distant relationship with Paul Finebaum (or at least Finebaum’s callers), is a move to ESPN’s SEC Network, which launches this August. Fox undoubtedly recognizes the value of the SEC and the Southeast. How heavily they’ll rely on Travis to bring that audience to Fox remains to be seen, but they certainly aren’t running away from him.

Monday Morning PR Quarterback

wwwThe rise of the internet fad, such as it is, presents a challenge to the viability of traditional print media. Nowhere in the world of sports media is that clearer than with Sports Illustrated, the onetime king of the written sports word.

SI hasn’t necessarily shied away from the Worldwide Web, but it hasn’t exactly been fleet-footed about it either. Here‘s the earliest archived version of, Continue reading

A question about Super Bowl Media Day

First, here’s Sports On Earth’s Mike Tanier on Super Bowl Media Day:

The most notorious event of Super Bowl week: a Roman orgy in which the wine and debauchery have been replaced by banal quotes and poorly concealed hostility. Media Day is our industry’s excuse to stuff a tube down our own metaphorical esophagus and gorge ourselves like foie gras geese on a fatty slurry of pregame hype. The players trapped inside interview booths for hour-long interview marathons are ironically the only people in attendance not trying to draw attention to themselves. The whole event is televised, and sometimes open to the ticketed public, so fans can watch players go glassy eyed at inane questions while reporters jostle each other as if the person who gets 18 inches closer to Pernell McPhee wins an automatic Pulitzer.

Media Day, like many Super Bowl events, has acquired its own gravity and atmosphere, so sportswriting cutups like me are more likely to write about Media Day than to write reports based on the interviews we conduct during Media Day. You might think that this would be a good year to report on the phenomenon of reporting on the phenomenon of Media Day, which I am technically doing in this sentence, but in fact that became a common angle on Media Day about two years ago. At some point, you just stick phrases like “Delanie Walker spoke to a bikini model holding a disco ball dangling from a fishing pole Tuesday,” on a plate with some field greens, then move on to something else.

Tanier’s basic take on Media Day isn’t new or fresh– something he readily acknowledges– even if his way of presenting it was.

The question is, why do the same people who hate Super Bowl Media Day seem to absolutely love the cultural circus that is college football’s SEC Media Days?

This is an open thread.UPDATE: This no longer is an open thread.


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